The Ravens continue to thrive despite the fact they have had to battle a slew of injuries as well as opponents.
The Ravens are 8-2 and have a two-game cushion in the AFC North even though they played without reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs for six weeks, lost cornerback Lardarius Webb and linebacker Ray Lewis to season-ending injuries, and have seen other starters such as Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive end Pernell McPhee and cornerback Jimmy Smith spend quality time with the training staff.
Notice the trend there? All the busted or banged-up players I just listed play on the defensive side of the ball.
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The Ravens have actually experienced remarkable health on offense this season. Not one of their starters has missed a game due to injury. Not quarterback Joe Flacco, who has one of the NFL’s longest ironman streaks at his position. Not running back Ray Rice, who plays at position where players absorb a lot of hard hits and break down all the time. Not even center Matt Birk, who is in his 15th season but hasn’t missed a game since 2005.
(I’ll pause so you can knock on wood.)
Some players have gotten nicked up, like veteran guard Bobbie Williams (left ankle) and pass-catching tight end Dennis Pitta (concussion symptoms), but an injury has yet to keep one of their offensive starters from making a start, unless you count Jah Reid, the third player to start at left guard this season, who missed the first two months of the season and didn’t join the starting lineup until last weekend’s win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
No wonder the Ravens, at 26.7 points per game, are on pace to score the most points in franchise history. Their most talented players are staying on the field and that chemistry is also a factor.
I’m sure all this is just coincidence, but the dichotomy between the health of the Ravens offense and defense is certainly interesting.